Anniversary of officer’s death a good time to reflect on heroes

Published 9:56 am Friday, October 9, 2015

In yesterday’s paper, Trooper Rob Herbstreith dedicated his weekly space to honoring an officer who was shot in the line of duty nearly 43 years ago.

Trooper Rob eloquently outlined the incident, detailing from an officer’s perspective what happened on the tragic day in Niles history.

Following a string of robberies in the Niles area in which the suspect had kidnapped multiple civilians and put countless lives in danger, Trooper DeVries pulled the suspect over and was arresting him when the man pulled out a gun and shot the 32-year-old officer.

Although it has been more than four decades since Trooper Steven B. DeVries was shot and killed during the traffic stop, the anniversary provides a great opportunity for everyone to reflect on the heroic efforts of all of the men and women who serve public safety positions.

In the last 94 years, 52 Michigan State Police troopers have been killed while on duty. That means more than one state trooper has been killed every two years in Michigan.

Officers have been shot, struck by cars and trains, drowned and exposed to toxins, all while fighting to protect the lives of the people they serve.

Some were involved in intense shootings or killed while pursuing a suspect, but plenty were killed while performing routine traffic stops.

Despite these tragic losses, countless men and women continue to commit their lives to serving the public, putting their lives on the line each day.

Police officers are so often looked upon as the “bad guys,” shunned because they often have to make tough decisions that are not always well-received by the public, but the fact of the matter is, these officers undergo significant training in order to make those decisions, and while mistakes do happen, much more often, officers’ decisions end up saving lives.

As the anniversary of Trooper DeVries’s death approaches, we encourage everyone to take a few moments to reflect on the hard work Michigan State troopers — and police officers from all departments — put into their jobs. They experience unimaginably stressful and taxing situations day in and day out, but continue to come to work and do their jobs each day nonetheless.

We appreciate all of the individuals who choose this difficult position, and the families of officers who have been left to worry and wonder if their loved ones will come home safely each day.

If you see a police officer this week, we urge you to thank them for their service.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.